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Bassi DE , Lopez De Cicco R , Mahloogi H , Zucker S , Thomas G , Klein-Szanto AJ
Furin inhibition results in absent or decreased invasiveness and tumorigenicity of human cancer cells
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Aug 28;98(18) :10326-31
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Pro-protein convertases such as furin are expressed in many human tumor lines and primary tumors. Furin processes stromelysin-3, membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) involved in tumor cell invasiveness, as well as growth factors such as transforming growth factor beta1. Evaluation of furin expression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells exhibiting different invasive ability showed that furin overexpression correlated with their respective invasiveness. The use of a selective furin inhibitor, alpha 1-PDX (PDX) was studied in three furin-expressing invasive HNSCC cell lines. The effects of PDX transfection were evaluated in vivo and in vitro to determine changes in the malignant phenotype. Transfection of HNSCC cell lines with PDX resulted in significant decrease or absence of tumorigenicity after s.c. inoculation into severe combined immunodeficient mice. Likewise, in vitro invasiveness was reduced approximately 50%. The in vivo invasion assay using tracheal xenotransplants showed even more drastic reductions of the invasive ability of PDX-transfected cells (up to an 80% decrease). PDX-transfected cells did not invade or penetrated less into the tracheal wall tissues than their vector alone-transfected counterparts. In addition, the former cells showed a remarkable decrease in MMP-2 processing and activity. After PDX transfection the cells were less efficient in processing the tumor progression-associated furin substrates transforming growth factor beta1 and pro-membrane type 1-MMP. These findings indicate that furin inhibition is a feasible approach to attenuate and even abolish certain critical attributes of the advanced malignant phenotype. Thus, furin should be considered as a promising target for cancer therapy.
0027-8424 Journal Article